But despite the feminist movement's almost complete success in refashioning the terms of the cultural debate, feminists have not been able to convince most little girls to want to play with starfighters and missile launchers.
Having been a mother to three boys, a grandmother to six more, and a grandmother to three girls, I know that sex differences in personality, likes and dislikes are usually present from birth. While boys' and girls' preferences range along a broad spectrum, rare is the little boy who doesn't like to build things and then smash them up, and rare is the little girl who is as interested in doing so -- especially the smashing-up part.
So why shouldn't a company that hopes to increase its market share take advantage of those differences? What's wrong with creating toys that'll have an appeal to customers who want to bake cupcakes and have their hair and nails done?
As long as we don't tell girls they should never choose the action figure over the princess or tell boys that they must play with guns and not dolls, we're not cutting off options for either gender. Real choice entails letting individuals -- even young ones -- gravitate toward what they want, not what ideologues wish them to prefer.
Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .
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